Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Must Reads: Brown Declares Drought Emergency; Obama Announces NSA Reforms

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown today declared a drought emergency in California, following the driest calendar year in state history, the Mercury News$ reports. The governor’s announcement comes as the National Weather Services is predicting that California’s thirteen-month dry spell likely will continue for at least three more months, and thereby leave the state without a rainy season for the second straight year. Brown’s declaration is expected to be followed by strict water rationing throughout the state in the weeks and months ahead.

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2. President Barack Obama announced today that the federal government will no longer store phone-metadata from all Americans, the Washington Post$ reports. Obama also said he has ordered the NSA to stop eavesdropping on allied leaders, and said he is taking steps to protect the privacy rights of foreigners. The president’s announcement has followed six months of startling revelations about the NSA’s sweeping spy program thanks to the disclosures of secret documents by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

3. Governor Brown appears to be on his way to the easiest reelection in modern state history, as leading Republican gubernatorial candidate Abel Maldonado announced that he is dropping out of the race, the Chron$ reports. Brown is expected to win reelection this year in a landslide as the GOP continues to falter in California.

4. The Berkeley school board voted to spend about $2 million in district funds on “intruder training,” in the wake of numerous school shootings nationwide in recent years, the Trib$ reports.

5. And the two shadowy conservative groups that attempted to circumvent California campaign law in 2012 using secret campaign donations have yet to pay $15 million in fines they owe the state — and may never do so because one disbanded and the other is broke, the LA Times$ reports.

$ = stories that may require payment to read.

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